There is a decent handful of things similar between wine and cigars, but one stark similarity has to be that they get better with age – which leads invariably to a second, mutually inclusive similarity, that of the importance of storage for both. Cigars need a stable degree of humidity (between 50 and 70%) and steady temperatures (between 65 and 70°F) to mature properly without splitting or growing stale, and what with the finicky business of storage when it comes to expensive desktop humidors and the like, it’s hardly surprising that resourceful cigar enthusiasts have found an alternative – wine coolers.
With a little modification, a wine cooler – also going by the names wineador, fridgador and the like – can be decked out as a high-capacity cigar humidor to keep your cigars in the ideal controlled environment. And don’t worry – if the word “modifications” has you nervous, you’ll be pleased to hear that some wine cooler brands have wised up enough to this trend to redesign their thermoelectric machines to double as a humidor, so you can get your hands on a great machine already pre-modified for you. Intrigued? Let’s take a look at our picks.
NewAir 840 Count Electronic Cigar Cooler
Perfect for the avid collector, this cooler can hold up to 840 cigars of all sizes, with versatile storage options in the form of adjustable shelves you can stack your cigar boxes in, or the slide-out drawers you can tuck loose cigars into for safe storage. The capacity isn’t the only thing this cooler-slash-humidor has going for it, though – the thermoelectric cooling system, the same concept used by smaller-sized wine coolers, ensures that there’s no condensation building up inside, keeping the interior environment consistent, with digital controls letting you set a steady temperature anywhere between 54-72°F (higher than what you’d find for most wine coolers). The technology runs whisper-quiet and vibration-free, so not only is it an attractive unit you’re bound to get complimented on, but is also tastefully discreet.
We also love the Spanish cedar (which is actually a type of mahogany) of the racks and drawers – the wood helps stabilize humidity and fends away annoying cigar beetles from festering your collection, while also leaving a pleasant lingering aroma with your cigars, an aesthetic pro we’re all about.
Other handy features of this cooler-humidor are the in-built hygrometer that lets you monitor the internal temperature and relative humidity (RH), and soft, non-heat-emitting LED lighting that lets you examine and arrange your collection without amping up the temperature inside.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
Whynter CHC-120S 250-Cigar Cooler Humidor
This cooler-humidor wins if you aren’t looking to stock cigars up by the hundreds – though that doesn’t mean it skimps on space, having a maximum capacity of about 250 cigars in both box and individual storage. The 1.2 cubic feet device is compact but generous with capacity, with two shelves for stocking boxes and a pull-out drawer, the Spanish cedar storage a win-win for maintaining internal humidity conditions, keeping away tobacco beetles and leaving behind a pleasant aroma to boot. To help maintain the controlled environment, the cooler-humidor also comes with a humidity tray, as well as a hygrometer to let you keep an eye on the internal relative humidity.
The temperature range of the unit is adjustable between 50 and 66°F (so you can actually use this to store your wines too, though we recommend against using a single unit for both wines and cigars due to the differences in optimum temperature ranges for both). The thermoelectric system runs smoothly and quietly, so you won’t have to worry about incessant buzzing in the background as the system runs, with soft interior lighting that won’t heat up or upset the internal environment. As a freestanding unit, you can also keep this wineador/humidor anywhere, from on top of a counter or an end-table to under a roomy floating counter.
NewAir Electric Cigar Humidor Wineador | 250 Count
A smaller version of our top pick, this is the option to go for if you’re not planning on building a vast, expansive collection for your cigars, but nonetheless have a pretty decent assortment going that you want to keep safe and sound, with its maximum capacity of 250 cigars. With two Spanish cedar racks and one pull-out drawer, you have ample space to slide in your boxes and loose cigars of all sizes, with a hygrometer built on to the drawer to let you keep an eye on the internal humidity levels at all times.
With a digital LCD interface and a versatile temperature range of 54 to 74°F (so you can, theoretically, also store wines in this, though preferably not together with cigars), this handy device is a freestanding unit, the compact build and contemporary meets classic design making it an aesthetic item to add to your counters, tables or anywhere else around your home without the risk of appearing incongruous.
Whynter CHC-122BD Elite Touch Control Cigar Cooler Humidor
Compact but effective, this smaller cousin of several high-capacity humidors is for those of us who aren’t looking for capacity so much as a handy little unit that makes sure our cigars have the right environment to rest and mature until we’re ready to enjoy them. Two removable Spanish cedar shelves and a pull-out drawer offer ample storage space for boxes and individual cigars, with a hygrometer built in to let you monitor the optimum relative humidity. Temperatures are adjustable within a range of 50 to 66ºF using an in-built thermostat. With a sleek LCD display and soft interior lighting, this modern but classy unit is a freestanding device that’ll look right at home anywhere, be it on or under a counter or decorative table.